Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stated that his opponents are attempting to “Destabilise” the country’s political environment.
That was in reaction to a Ryanair airline being forced to divert under fighter aircraft escort after flight controllers informed pilots of a bomb threat.
On Mr. Lukashenko’s orders, the jet was compelled to land in the Belarusian city of Minsk instead of its intended destination of Lithuania.
The event sparked indignation throughout the world.
Belarusian airlines have been barred from flying in EU airspace, and European airlines have been warned to avoid flying over the nation.
“There is always someone who gives us issues,” he stated.
“I brought some paperwork so you can see what’s going on.”
Mr. Putin pointed out that when a jet-carrying Bolivia’s president was compelled to land in the West in 2013, there was no such outrage.
During Friday’s meeting, Mr. Lukashenko intended to explore tighter economic connections with Russia, but he also sought backing in the aftermath of the Ryanair jet diversion, which has been dubbed a “state-sponsored hijacking” by some in the West.
“The events of the recent days reveal an increasing western pressure on Belarus,” Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko said earlier on Friday.
“In an obvious attempt to damage our economy and create circumstances for other coup attempts, the EU has made a political decision to impose sectoral sanctions.” We have the backing of our closest ally, the Russian Federation, in these circumstances.”
Belarus has benefited from Moscow’s cheap energy and loans in the past, but that does not imply the two presidents always agree.
Mr. Lukashenko has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with Moscow’s attempts to compel him to hand over control of economic assets, which he sees as a step to losing independence.
Mr. Lukashenko, who has controlled Belarus with an iron fist for the last 25 years, has also attempted to take advantage of the chance of healing relations with the EU and the US in order to secure additional funding from Moscow.
However, after widespread condemnation of his behavior during last year’s presidential election – he won, but many feel the election was rigged – this strategy no longer works.
During the demonstrations that followed, more than 35,000 people were detained.